Boeing consolidates in Melbourne to manufacture composites
|01 October 2010 |
|Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company, has moved to the cutting edge of composite aircraft component manufacturing as it consolidates its Australian production and research in an expanded Melbourne facility.|
|The move comes as Boeing completes a $200 million revamp of its Fishermans Bend facility in Melbourne, expected to reap $4 billion in export earnings during the next two decades, and cement Victoria’s reputation as Australia’s centre of aerospace development.|
Boeing Aerostructures Australia (BAA) is on track to finish construction work for Australia's largest aerospace project early next year, and is using an advanced process called resin infusion to make composites for the company's 787 Dreamliner.
The process reduces costs and production time, and BAA is researching ways to make its products stronger and lighter.
When up and running at full production, about half of all work by BAA will ultimately be tied to the 787's composite parts.
According to BAA managing director Mark Ross, the Melbourne facility, which competed internationally for the work, will ramp up by late 2013 to produce 10 full sets of trailing-edge wing components, known as shipsets, a month.
"It's a significant part of the operation, and for a long time to come," Mr Ross says.
"It's our newest platform; you would expect it to have a pretty lengthy run time. It's had tremendous market success and we would expect it to continue to have that kind of success."
BAA already exports airframe components worth $375 million annually and has evolved from a straightforward manufacturing facility to developing the capability to design, manufacture, test and certify primary structural air-frame components.
Mr Ross says Australia has used a combination of local intellectual property and talent as well as the resources of Boeing to arguably take the technology further than anybody else at the aerospace giant, and possibly across the industry.
The head office at Fishermans Bend is also home to the local branch of Boeing Research & Technology, formed in 2008.
Victorian Premier John Brumby said that Boeing’s decision to strengthen its Melbourne operations will create 300 new jobs, and is testimony that the city is a great place in which to invest.
“Today’s announcement re-affirms why Victoria is a great place to do business with a growing economy, competitive tax system, highly skilled workforce and a highly supportive government,” Mr Brumby said.
The US manufacturing giant earlier this year announced it was consolidating its Australian manufacturing operations in Melbourne and plans to close its long-standing operations near Bankstown airport in Sydney by the end of 2012.